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Botulism: Surveillance & Reporting Overview for Clinicians

Case Definition

Use of case definitions are not sufficient for establishing a medical diagnosis and should not be relied upon to initiate therapy.

  • This definition is for public health surveillance purposes only. It is not intended for use in clinical diagnosis.
  • Case definitions should be used by clinicians and public health officials in two settings:
    • After a credible threat of a biological/chemical agent release.
    • After a known biological/chemical agent release.

Botulism Case Definition

Surveillance Data

  • In collaboration with state health departments, CDC maintains intensive surveillance for botulism in the United States.
  • Every case of foodborne botulism is treated as a public health emergency, because the food source, whether homemade or commercial, might still be available for consumption and could make unsuspecting persons ill.
  • Health-care providers should be alert to illness patterns and diagnostic clues that might indicate an unusual infectious disease outbreak associated with intentional release of a biologic agent and should report any clusters or findings to their local or state health department.
  • Page last reviewed October 06, 2006
  • Page last updated June 14, 2006
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